In late August 2017, Israeli Judge Moses Drori, from the Jerusalem District Court, ruled that the Palestinian Authority was fully responsible for the murder, kidnap, detention, torture, rape of 52 individuals – Arab Israelis and Palestinians – from the “West Bank”, between the years 1995-2002.
According to the verdict, the torture includes electric shocks, hanging upside down, spilling boiling plastic on the body, extraction of nails and teeth, sterilization, sleep and food prevention, rape and murder of family members, and even the removal of a one-day old infant from its incubator. The verdict stretches over 8,000 pages. The PA might spare money when it comes to rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees, but they never spare money when it comes to comes to maintaining its illegitimate power by force.
The verdict is unprecedented, second only to the Supreme High Court decision from 2008 allowing Israelis to prosecute the PA for funding or inciting terrorism acts before and during the Second Intifada. However, this was only the positive side of the story. After the verdict was given, the prosecutors came to the conclusion that if their wish was to receive their compensation, they must provide various medical reports, a costly procedure. This is basically what is called in Israeli courts as “proof of damage.”
To help the prosecutors, lawyers Barak Kedem and Aryeh Arbus contacted fifteen human rights organizations who claim to stand at the forefront of the struggle against the so-called “occupation” and house demolitions, and supportive of Arab Israelis and human rights, who hold huge budgets financed by foreign countries and by The New Israel Fund. “The people that we represent are broken both in body and soul, who run away from the Palestinian Authority, live in Israel as refugees, and cannot afford expensive medical experts reviews, which cost up to thousands of shekels per review”, said the lawyers to the organizations.
Unfortunately, and ironically, most of these organizations either refused to assist them or ignored them. Center for the Defense of the Individual (Hamoked) responded they assist only with legal aid, and don’t employ doctors; therefore they can’t finance medial reviews. Rabbis for Human Rights claimed they not familiar with the case. Associations such as B’tselem and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel ignored the prosecutors, as did the New Israel Fund. Amnesty International responded, claiming that the organizations don’t have the professional tools to help the refugees’ needs.
These excuses might testify to ignorance or lack of professionalism. However, some organizations had managed to refuse with a much more interesting explanation to offer.
Organization Yesh Din for example, did express a sense of anger and pain, but explained that they can’t assist because they only represent victims of violations when the abusers are Israeli authorities or Israeli civilians. A similar refusal was given from Adalah, which responded claiming that the organization helps only Palestinians who wish to prosecute the state of Israel. Basically, these organization had agreed to help only if the procedure involves somehow the criticism of Israel and its institutions.
From all the fifteen organizations, only two of them – Physicians for Human Rights and The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – agreed to assist the Palestinians.
The lesson here is clear. My first point is that in the world we’re living nowadays, it’s not enough to be a poor Palestinian, or a Palestinian refugee to ask for help; you have to be the right Palestinian, the one who’s occupied by the right aggressor, the right occupier, the right oppressor. It’s not enough to be brutally tortured by a dictatorship which is artificially kept alive by western money for the last 25 years; you must have the right killer, the one who’s “in fashion.”
Because let’s face it, dear media: it was never about the victim. It was mostly about the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is Muslim, life seems normal; Muslims kill Muslims almost everywhere in the Middle East now. Assad kill Rebels, Turkey kills Kurds, Iranians kill Yemenites (and that’s the tip of the iceberg concerning Iran), the Egyptian army kills ISIS militias, who in the last 4 years are killing almost anything that is not them, and so on. All sides violate human rights on regular basis; all of them use torture techniques that most people don’t read about; and most people shouldn’t, if they want to sleep well at night.
In computer games, it’s called “Deathmatch”. But this is not a computer game. This is the reality.
Facing this reality, it isn’t surprising that the Palestinians receive this treatment from their “government”. The hypocrisy lays in the fact that “human rights” organizations, who’re supposed to help Palestinians whenever and however they can, all of a sudden freeze and stutter when they find out Israel isn’t involved. What’s the matter? Are the PA procedures too hard to grasp? Or maybe there’s less demand for these testimonies, because they sound so familiar to the testimonies we could hear from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen?
When the PA is the offender, it’s business as usual. When Israel is the offender, it gets a huge headline on the front page, even when the allegations are utterly false. If you don’t believe this, ask the people in Syria, some of whom say they wish Israel would invade their country, so that finally someone will pay attention to their suffering.
Maybe the real reason for this painful paradox is simpler, which leads me to my second point: The PA’s modus operandi puts a black mirror in the front of the West: this is what your money helps to achieve. No peace, no negotiations, no blooming hi-tech industries. Instead, it causes more pain, and builds another system which uses horrifying operational methods to maintain the power of the elites. Like in Latin America, parts of Asia, and Africa, those governments are always corrupt, violent, and conflict-prone.
I wonder how European and American civilians, the taxpayers who fund this corrupted, violent and shameful system, would feel when they find out about this affair. With the lack of trust of many Europeans and Americans in their own politicians and institutions nowadays, this is not good news. Questions will be raised (as they should be), fingers will be pointed angrily at people, and demand for change will be raised.
Tuvia Tenenbaum once wrote in his book, Catch the Jew, that human rights organizations actually function as an extension of the European Union, whose goal is to delegitimize the State of Israel in the world in order to minimize or cancel out their role in the Holocaust. If this is true, it perfectly explains the paradox of those human rights organizations, who should be so ashamed of themelves for refusing to help perhaps the poorest, most vulnerable marginalized people – torture victims.